Refocusing on Facilities

Nov. 1, 2001
Amidst a depressed economy, prospect of a lengthy war and threats on the homefront, attention to the condition of our nation's school facilities has lost

Amidst a depressed economy, prospect of a lengthy war and threats on the homefront, attention to the condition of our nation's school facilities has lost some focus. But as local governments work to address concerns and shore up dwindling budgets, many lawmakers and communities are doing their best to ensure the places where children learn are not shortchanged in the process.

Even at the federal level, last year's school construction initiative — which provided $1.2 billion in federal funds for facilities repair, but which is missing in this year's ESEA bill — is resurfacing as Congress debates fiscal 2002 education funding.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is attempting to get $925 million for school repair returned to the bill. As a backup, Harkin and other lawmakers also are angling to get the construction funding into the economic-stimulus package under discussion. If anyone can get school facilities funding it's Harkin, who has been successful in getting $37 million over the past five years in federal funding for school construction and repair directed to his home state.

Even in these difficult times, the education construction boom is in full swing, and this year's Architectural Portfolio features myriad examples of what can be accomplished with appropriate funding and, of course, innovative planning.

Now in its 19th year, the school and university facilities featured in this pre-eminent competition are recognized as the best of the best in learning environments. This year, 238 projects are profiled, and the expert jury — made up of educational administrators, facility planners and architects — awarded 30 citations to projects with the most exceptional designs and inspiring solutions.

Two projects were recipients of the competition's highest honors. The William W. Caudill Citation — awarded to the most outstanding K-12 facility — was presented to Chesterton (Ind.) High School, designed by Fanning/Howey Associates. The Louis I. Kahn Citation — the highest post-secondary honor — was bestowed on the University of Nevada — Las Vegas, Lied Library, designed by Leo A Daly.

Much thanks and appreciation go to our dedicated jury. The five members worked diligently for two full days reviewing, evaluating and selecting projects for inclusion into this year's compendium. To find out more about the jury and read its commentary, turn to pages 12 and 14.

And special thanks to the architectural firms that submitted projects to be judged. Their sharing of innovative ideas and concepts continue to push the limits of educational design, and may inspire you as you embark on your next construction project.


Number of school and university construction projects selected for inclusion in the 2001 Architectural Portfolio.

Number of citations awarded in this year's competition by the five-member jury.

Citations awarded to elementary school projects — the most bestowed in any one category this year by a panel of educational administrators, facility planners and architects.

State whose schools were awarded the most citations (6), followed by California, which had 3 education-construction projects honored with citations.

Number of states where 60 percent of the projects selected for publication in the 2001 Architectural Portfolio are located (CA, IL, IN, MA, MI, NY, OH, PA, TX)

About the Author

Joe Agron | Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 25 years, and has helped influence and shape national school infrastructure issues. He has been sought out for comments by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News and CNN, and assisted with the introduction of the Education Infrastructure Act of 1994.

Joe also authors a number of industry-exclusive reports. His "Facilities Impact on Learning" series of special reports won national acclaim and helped bring the poor condition of the nation's schools to the attention of many in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

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